We all have those moments in our lives when we hit a wall: in our job, in parenting, or in school. We feel tired, overwhelmed, and just plain “over it”. So, we take a break. We may spend time with friends or go on vacation and come back feeling rejuvenated, ready to take on all challenges that come our way. What happens when the time away just isn’t enough, or your entire vacation is spent worrying and stressing about returning to the situation you are trying to escape? These can be signs of burnout.
What is burnout and how is different from stress?
Burn out is different from just being tired or stressed. It’s a chronic state of stress characterized by physical and emotional exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment and a sense of ineffectiveness or lack of accomplishment. These symptoms are constant, overwhelming and seem unsolvable.
Where does it occur?
Most often, burnout is associated with our jobs. Anyone working in just about any type of job can be susceptible to burnout—even the people working in their dream job! Think about it: if you work in a full-time job, you are spending about 35% of your day at work, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s a lot of time, and if you are not good at managing your time, or you struggle with setting good boundaries around work, you can easily find yourself experiencing the symptoms of burnout.
Who does it affect?
Burnout affects everyone. It has the most impact on people with unconventional work hours, like people on the night shift, people with multiple jobs, ministers, health care workers, students and moms.
Signs of Burnout
Remember, burnout occurs when you experience a chronic, prolonged state of stress. Each of the symptoms below are to be expected in everyday life, but if you are experiencing them all together, and in a way that effects your ability to function, it’s time to get help!
- Emotional, mental or physical exhaustion
- Lack of motivation
- Frustration, cynicism and other intense, negative emotions
- Cognitive problems, like forgetfulness or an inability to concentrate
- Declining job performance
- Interpersonal problems at home or at work, or both
- Lack of self-care
- Preoccupation with work
- General dissatisfaction
- Health problems
What can I do?
First and foremost, taking care of you—what we often refer to as self-care—is of utmost importance. Are you eating well? Are you getting enough sleep—or, maybe, too much—sleep? It may be time for you to take a break, go for a walk, get to the gym get a massage, or do something fun.
Social media is great, but if you’re constantly on your phone, you can be easily reached. Let your time at work be for work, and your time at home, be for family, self-care, relaxation and enjoyment.
Cultivate a rich non-work life
Remember, work monopolizes a vast majority of your life, so it’s important to have a life outside of it. Otherwise, you may be tempted to just continue on working. So, who are your friends? What do you do together? Where can you meet new people? Establishing strong, diverse social connections will help you manage burnout.
A lot of the time, burnout happens because we let our to-do list dictate our schedule. Getting organized and setting boundaries can help you to take back control of your time. Get a daily planner, and meet with a superior about delegating work, prioritizing projects, or even just get some advice on how they manage their time.
If you feel like you have exhausted all of your resources, and are still struggling with feeling burnt out, it’s time to seek outside help. Counseling is a great place to find that kind of help you may need in monitoring, managing and taking back control over your thoughts feelings and emotions. We are available to help, contact us here or call 832-421-8714.